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Man Catches 16-Foot Python With Bare Hands (Photos)

A Florida man caught a nearly 17-foot long python using just his bare hands.

Dusty "The Wildman" Crum made history by netting the biggest python to ever be caught in Everglades National Park, the Daily Mail reported. The snake measured at 16 feet, 10 inches and weighed 130 pounds.

The python also had a whopping 78 eggs inside, it was later discovered. The eggs were taken out to prevent any new snakes from being born.

Crum likened his battle with the snake to another historic showdown.

"It's like Andre the Giant versus Hulk Hogan, WrestleMania!" he told WFOR.

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The catch was a part of a project started by the South Florida Water Management District, a group seeking to eradicate the python population. Crum had already accomplished a previous milestone, catching the 50th Burmese python in the program, which measured at 14 feet, 6 inches.

But this is Crum's biggest catch of his career, and the biggest ever in the Everglades National Park. Crum gets paid $8.10 an hour, along with an on-the-spot payment of $50 for pythons measuring up to 4 feet long and an additional $25 for each foot after.

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Crum's catch alone earned him $375, which is the same amount it would cost to sell the skin. Hunters are also rewarded with a bonus of $100 for each eliminated python found guarding nests with eggs. This python had 78 eggs.

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Although Crum's catch was an impressive feat, it is not the biggest catch of all time. The southern Florida record for biggest snake caught was 18 feet, 2 inches long and 160 pounds.

Researchers speculate that at least 30,000 and possibly up to 300,000 pythons reside in southern Florida. They also believe this population will continue to grow and spread. The species is known to terrorize rabbits, alligators, birds and raccoons.

The average female breeds about every other year and produces anywhere from 20 to 50 eggs. They have a lifespan of up to 20 years, and sometimes longer.

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Crum said every snake caught makes a monumental difference, as it can prevent several more snakes from emerging in the Everglades.

"When people say they are only catching one or two snakes, why are they not catching more snakes?" Crum said. "Well we are making the difference by taking the eggs out of the eco system."

"It is a small program right now. We started 48 days ago … 78 snakes removed," SFWMD member Juan Valdes added.

Sources: Daily Mail, WFOR / Photo credit: Pixabay, CBS Miami via Daily Mail

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